In many professions, if you make a tiny mistake at work because you’re tired or distracted, it’s no big deal. However, when you are a doctor, you have people’s lives in your hands. A slip up at work because you’re having a bad day could cost your patient and you so much! That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can take the best care of your patients. But, for those moments when things do go awry, make sure that you have a malpractice insurance policy that protects you. Here are five things you should know about malpractice insurance for locum tenens.
Five Things to Know About Malpractice Insurance for Locum Tenens
What is malpractice insurance?
Malpractice insurance for locum tenens basically protects physicians if a patient sues them. For example, if a patient suffers damages that they think were caused by the way a doctor treated them, there’s a chance they could sue.
What does a malpractice insurance policy consist of?
Each policy is different, but generally speaking, the policies outline what limitations or exclusions of coverage there are. They also tell you much money your policy is going to cover if they do end up owing the patient for injuries. There are also some circumstances where your malpractice insurance won’t protect you. For example, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, if the actions were illegal, or if they were a result of sexual misconduct, you may not receive coverage.
How do I acquire malpractice insurance?
Typically, staffing agencies provide malpractice insurance to locum tenens so they don’t have to go out and find it on their own. However, if you go with the malpractice insurance given to you by your staffing agency, it might not be the type you would choose if you were purchasing it on your own. Do your research, ask questions, and make sure you are using the best coverage you can.
How long does a policy last?
Policies can last anywhere from six months to a year. This gives flexibility in choices to those who are perhaps taking one short locum tenens assignment versus those who are going down the contract route full time.
What types of policies are there?
There are two main options when it comes to choosing your policy. You can get a claims-made policy or an occurrence policy. Let’s break it down here so you know which might be most beneficial to your situation.
A claims-made policy is more flexible in that it covers claims that were made after the retroactive date of a policy but are reported when it was in force. You can add something called “tail coverage,” which protects you outside of the policy term. For example, let’s say that you retire. Your policy is technically closed. Yet, someone makes a claim against you based on something that happened while you were working. If you had a claims-made policy, it could still cover that claim. Of course, there are different stipulations around this, but you get the idea. There are lots of different coverage limit options within a claims-made policy that can cause it to fluctuate in price.
An occurrence policy is a little easier to understand and doesn’t change as much as a claims-made policy does. An occurrence policy covers any claim made against you when the policy is in effect. Your coverage limit stays the same throughout the lifetime of this policy, so it’s important to make sure you select a coverage limit that gives you the coverage you might need.
Insurance policies can be confusing, so make sure to read everything thoroughly and ask as many questions as you need to before you make a decision. If you need a list of healthcare agencies who work with locum tenens, check out the list of locum tenens employers on our website!